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  1. #1
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    Internal Hub 7-speed

    As I am a year around commuter, I have spent endless hours searching for the perfect commuter bike. The Shimano Nexus 7 speed recently caught my eye as a good alternative. A quick search on the web comes up with very little info. I know Trek has a model that has the Nexus hub, but I find the bike inadequate for my needs. So, if internal hubs are making a comeback, why aren't companies using them?

    I have thought of building such a bike from scratch, but I have had no luck finding a frame with horizontal dropouts. And now with the recent return of freezing temps, I eagerly continue my search for a multi-speed bike that will not leave me gearless.

    I know many of you would like to poo-poo on internal geared hubs, but I think they are the wave of the future.

  2. #2
    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    I have a nexus 7 hub bike and it's great. It also has the nexave brake built into the hub. the advantage is that you can shift at a standstill and wet weather doesn't affect shifting or braking leaving it a virtually maintainence free unit.
    SRAM has a interal shift setup too.
    Rholff has an interal 16 speed (I think that's right) that is light and race-worthy but super expensive.

    I think Campy and Shimano are both working on race-worthy internal shifting systems as well as electronic shifting.

  3. #3
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    1. "The Shimano Nexus 7 speed recently caught my eye as a good alternative. A quick search on the web comes up with very little info."

    I just spent over $700.00 on a brand new Bianchi Milano with a 7 speed Nexus hub gear in the back. I love it. To be totally honest, I have always loved hub bikes and use them all the time. I guess I'm a throwback. Unfortunately, there are very few bikes that offer hub gears and the Milano is one of the best. Some of the better all around hub gear commuting bicycles are dutch roadsters. http://www.batavus.nl/

    I'm in the process of converting my Dahon Speed 8 into a 7 speed using the Spectro S7 by Sram. Here's a city bike that doesn't use a chain and has offers the Spectro S7.

    http://www.chainless.com/citybikem.html

    Many if not all of Dahon's 20' folding bikes have horizontal dropouts which make them perfect for a hub gear. I have a Sturmey Archer 3 speed that lasted me almost 11 years through rain and snow before it died. The Sturmey Archer AW 3 speed hub is available once again through Sun Race. It's too bad when you think about how well and durable the hub gear performs yet most people still prefer the derailleur even though it's far more difficult to clean and maintain. It seems like eveyone thinks you need 27 gears to ride a bicycle but most people for commuting only use 2 or 3.

    A Sturmey Archer 3 speed is perfect for commuting in my opinion. I mean it. You spend 95% of your time in 2nd gear which is called direct drive. If you hit a hill, you drop to 1st gear and spin. Pretty simple right? You don't have to drop the chain twice like you would with a derailleur and it's automatic. If your headed downhill, shift to 3rd gear to go faster. Very few bikes except the high end roadies pass me on the bike path which is fine with me.

    2. "So, if internal hubs are making a comeback, why aren't companies using them? "

    Beats me. It's one of the greatest secrets out there. The Nexus hub isn't cheap and you won't find a bike under $400.00 dollars using one. To be fair, my high end road bike does use a derailleur as it should. I would never commute with it though.

    3. "I know many of you would like to poo-poo on internal geared hubs, but I think they are the wave of the future."

    I don't think so and here's why. First, they are not as efficient as a derailleur although Nexus claims it is close to 95%. Second, they are not as durable and SHOULD NOT be taken off road. You would destroy the internal components within a short time. Furthermore, you should not race with a hub gear bike since hitting pot holes at full speed can and will damage the gears.

    I always stop peddaling when I ride over a batch of pot holes to protect the hub from damage. If you treat a hub gear with respect, it should last you many years. My 3 speed is back in action again with a new Sturmey Archer hub that will probably last another 10 years.

    My Bianchi Milano with 7 gears is too much for me. I only end up using 3 gears most of the time. Go figure.

  4. #4
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    I think that horizontal dropouts are history now, but you can buy a couple of bikes with track ends (Surly, Redline). With the quick-disconnect shift cable, these might work, although i'm sure that the spacing will need to be spread.
    Your best bet, though, is to use a vertical dropout bike, and a chain tensioner. Surly makes them, and they are available in the QBP catalog in most bike shops in the US.
    Last edited by D*Alex; 11-02-02 at 07:25 AM.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  5. #5
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Nexus is a good system for commuting, I might try to set up one of my Schwinn cruisers with Nexus.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
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    1. "Nexus is a good system for commuting, I might try to set up one of my Schwinn cruisers with Nexus."

    The device looks solid and robust compared to Sturmey Archer. I just can't say enough positive about the Nexus system. Well there is one negative. When the Nexus hub goes totally bad, there are not many bike shops that can fix it and most will say to simply pop out the bad internals and pop in a new one! Very costly. The is not the same with Sturmey Archer since there are plenty of bike shops that have no trouble fixing a 3 speed.


    I still like Sram 7 speed and will be commuting on one in the very near future. I still think 7 gears are too much for my commute since there aren't many hills that even a 3 speed couldn't handle. I think most peope on this forum would be surprised at how fast a 3 speed would go on a light road bike. It's too bad there aren't many road bikes that are built with the proper dropouts for a hub geared bike. ;-(

  7. #7
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    It might work for the cruiser but I'm starting to doubt it.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
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    Well if your cruiser doesn't have the horizontal dropouts, you could always look for a track bike with one gear. These bikes have to dropouts needed for the Nexus 7 and they are not expensive. I saw a used Bianchi Pista on Ebay for about $350.00.

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    Some touring bikes still come with horizontal dropouts, and older models have them. These make perfect commuter bikes with a hub gear.
    The Sachs unit is allegedly more robust and reliable than the Nexus. It has been used for expedition touring in Mongolia, so that stuff about not using hub gears for off-road is a bit misleading. For riding along well prepared off-road bike trails (not extreme downhill stuff) they are quite good enough.

  10. #10
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Dahon.Steve
    Well if your cruiser doesn't have the horizontal dropouts, you could always look for a track bike with one gear. These bikes have to dropouts needed for the Nexus 7 and they are not expensive. I saw a used Bianchi Pista on Ebay for about $350.00.
    The cruiser this is going on dates back to 1970.
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  11. #11
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by D*Alex
    I think that horizontal dropouts are history now
    Not if you go for a high end tourer, or custom built. There are a lot of advantages, not least a bit of lattitude if you slightly buckle a wheel, so an older tourer, or newer high end one would suit.
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

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  12. #12
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Ok, I put it on today, it worked nicely.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
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  13. #13
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    I commuted year round for three years with derailleurs and one year with the Nexus. I would not consider using a derailleur bike for commuting again in this area (Washington DC), except as a back-up.

    My experience with the gear range has been different from that of some posters in other areas. I find that I need all 7 gears. I would be happy if I could spin less when going downhill and spin more on the uphills. The Nexus range of ratios is OK for here, but I suspect I would want a Rohloff 14 speed in say, Seattle or San Francisco.

    They are low maintenance, weather-resistant, fairly efficient (although less so that a good derailleur set-up), and (with a chainguard) keep your pants clean. They make too much sense to ever be a success in the marketplace.

    Paul

  14. #14
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    1. "They are low maintenance, weather-resistant, fairly efficient (although less so that a good derailleur set-up), and (with a chainguard) keep your pants clean. They make too much sense to ever be a success in the marketplace"

    This is exactly what I have been saying for all the years I have been bike commuting. I have put my Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub through hell and it works just like new each time I use it. I work in New York City and see people using cheap shopper bikes and NEVER see them shift the gears even if they are going uphill. Yet these cheap Roadmasters or Magna bikes seem to have 21 or more gears that are not used because the derailleur is not fuctional after 6 months of use.

    Someone posted the Sram 7 speed is better than the Nexus 7 speed hub. I read in another thread about someone who took both units apart and found out the Nexus uses small paws that can get easily damaged. This was only an opinion. I haven't had any problems with the Nexus 7 speed hub.

  15. #15
    Infamous Dumpster Diver Buddha Knuckle's Avatar
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    but I have had no luck finding a frame with horizontal dropouts.
    Umm, that's odd. I can't walk two blocks in my neighborhood without spotting one. Old horizontal dropout frames abound in urban centers (track dropouts are distinct from horizontal dropouts, but both will work with an internal hub). If you want new frame for your hub, check out Surly's steamroller, 1x1, and crosscheck. They are all made of 4130 Chro-mo so cold setting the rear triangle to fit any hub would be possible.

    BK
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  16. #16
    California über Alles!! Radfahrer's Avatar
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    I have been riding a custom-built city bike (Steve Rex) for about a year now, and it was constructed specifically to use a internal-gear hub (it is a Nexus 7 with roller brake), and I wouldn't trade it for anything! Frame was built with horizontal dropouts for this reason. I went custom because of my height (6' 5") and wanted to sit more or less upright, and could find NOTHING large enough that was set up the way I wanted.

    Not a single problem, and as mentioned by others, when equipped with chain and mud guards, one can ride in work clothing and not need to change in the office!

    Anyway, I'm lovin' the Nexus 7! Just one complaint, not a whole lot of braking power with that roller brake (also available with a coaster brake), so good cantis in the front are a necessity!
    To wat du wüllt, de Lüüt snackt doch.
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